Living wall-to-wall with our fellow New Yorkers can be a blessing: having friendly neighbors gives you instant community and security. But the blessing can quickly turn to a curse when it comes to noise. We asked five city dwellers: If you had to deal with nonstop noise from your neighbors, which is worst: a barking dog or a crying baby?
Big bark theory I learned from watching The Big Bang Theory that women are instinctively conditioned to wake up at the sound of a crying baby. If that’s true, then I’d rather live next door to a barking dog so I’ll have a better chance of sleeping through the noise. I don’t want to have to fight Mother Nature. Or meet the stressed out mother of a newborn in the elevator. —Hildy, Inwood
Times will be a-changing I would want to live next to the crying baby because then you live in hope that there is change on the horizon. Babies change day to day, so eventually (one hopes) they will be sleeping through the night. A skittish dog that barks whenever somebody comes to the door, or is afraid of its own shadow, is forever. Also, I sometimes think that owners are more protective of their pets than their babies. I know new parents who openly talk about how exhausting it is to take care of a child, be it a newborn or a toddler. But woe betide the person who ever criticizes somebody’s tiny, yelping mutt. —Katie, Hamilton Heights
- Attention-getters trump attention seekers I used to have a dog and I like dogs. They’re awesome. And they may bark every once in a while, but they don’t do it constantly like a baby. You just need to turn your attention away from a kid and they get upset. The kind of upset you hear through the walls. Dogs will generally only bark for a reason and often for a good reason. —Matt, Astoria
- Going to the dogs I live next to a loud dog and I hate it. Whenever somebody even just approaches their door — or my door, even! — he just goes off! I don’t understand why my neighbor doesn’t do anything about it. They are idiots! They talk to the dog in a calm, soothing voice, like it understands how to use an indoor voice. I wish they’d get them some training. I’d rather live next door to a baby, at least that will grown up eventually. —Allen, Harlem
- Cute over smelly I hate having dogs in the building as it is, because on rainy days you can smell them all over the building. I’d hate it even more if I had to live right next door to one and hear it bark and yelp at the TV or something. At least babies are cute. —Jeff, Upper West Side
Verdict: Babies win, 3:2. Go, little ones!